Cornersville Middle knocks off Fayetteville 2-1
The Cornersville Middle School Bulldogs (10-5) spoiled Fayetteville's perfect season on Friday night by defeating the Tigers 2-1 at home.
Cornersville held a 2-0 lead through the first five innings of play before Fayetteville (11-1) scored a run in the top of the sixth to whittle the deficit to 2-1. The Tigers then put together another scoring threat in the seventh inning, but Bulldog reliever Carson Stacey escaped a bases loaded jam to help CMS claim their 10th win of the year.
"This win says a lot about the team. They've never quit all year. We got a good pitching performance and played well overall," said Cornersville coach Mike Tatum.
Bulldog starting pitcher Graham Duke turned in another dominant performance on the mound, as he held Fayetteville hitless through five scoreless innings of work while issuing two walks and racking up 14 strikeouts en route to picking up the win. Duke then reached his weekly innings limit at the end of the fifth and was relieved by Stacey, who yielded one run over the final two frames on three hits to earn the save.
"Graham is just smooth and knows how to pitch. He just loves the game and is only going to get better and better," said Tatum. "That may have been the best that Carson has pitched since the first of the year. He threw strikes and had a good curveball."
Brandon Moore, Zorian Pullen, and starting pitcher Worth Watson notched one hit apiece for the Tigers. Watson was the tough luck loser on the mound, as he yielded two unearned runs over six innings on five hits and two walks to go along with 11 strikeouts.
Duke doubled to account for the lone extra base hit of the contest for the Bulldogs, while Cameron Whitaker, Raymond Cooksey, Cade Hopkins, and Zach Blackwell all singled.
Fayetteville had a chance to get on the board in the top of the first inning after putting runners on first and second with no outs thanks to a hit batsman and a walk, but Duke quickly settled down and fanned the next three Tiger batters to extinguish the threat.
Watson worked around a two-out double by Duke in the bottom of the first before Cornersville pushed across two runs in the third inning to grab a 2-0 lead.
After Blackwell legged out a bunt single and stole second, Whitaker and Caleb Crowell both drew walks to load the bases with no outs. Watson then caught a pop up by Duke and had a chance to double Crowell off first, but Tiger first baseman Colton Wiseman saw Watson's throw bounce off his glove, which allowed Blackwell to score. Whitaker came home a few moments later when Watson made an errant pickoff throw to first base.
The Bulldogs missed a couple of opportunities to pad their lead and stranded a runner on second in the bottom of the fourth before leaving the bases loaded in the fifth inning.
In the top of the sixth, Fayetteville narrowed the gap to 2-1 when Pullen scampered home on a sacrifice fly by Jeffery Pettie after reaching base on a bloop single and advancing to third on a Watson single.
The Tigers had a chance to potentially take the lead in the top of the seventh and loaded the bases with two outs on an error, a walk, and an infield single by Moore. Stacey, however, bore down and retired Pullen on an infield pop up to clinch the win for Cornersville.